About a day after the public transit option on Google Maps was released on the web, I wanted to be able to use it on my phone. Of course, it was not available at the time, but I remained hopeful that one day soon I would be able to make use of it to check bus schedules on the go, a killer app for someone who is vehicle-less in a metro city. One by one, my firends with iPhones and Windows Mobile phones got the use of public transit and I still waited, left out in the cold by Palm/Google.
Eventually, I found out that Google never planned to develop a new update of their Maps application on the old Palm OS. That made sense, I reasoned, with webOS coming out so soon. Surely, they must develop the option for the new Palm OS though, right? It was one of the first three things that I checked upon getting my Pre activated and it sure seemed to me that the option still was not present.
Because of the previous troubles that I have had finding what I thought should have been obvious solutions to plain issues with the Pre, I went to the web. My first web search stop was a blog post from Google here. No mention of public transit, though it is brought up twice in the comments.
More fiddling with the app yielded nothing and even trying to load up Google Maps via the web browser (http://maps.google.com) just auto-launched the built-in application. So, no such luck. Further web searching revealed this review, which had this comment from Ryan:
"My biggest complaint with the Pre is the inability to look up Google Public Transit info. The Google Maps WebOS app automatically loads whenever you go to maps.google.com and since there is no public transit support built into the app, AND you can't access the regular web page because it auto loads (no you can't delete the app) there is no way to get routes. I even tried installing Classic (a PalmOS emulator) and tried to use the Google PalmOS app, which loads, but can't load GPS data and crashes when I ask for directions."
Amen, Ryan. Amen. Public transit is absolutely critical for those of living without a car and who rely on the bus systems in our city. However, I cannot imagine that someone will not write a homebrewed app that pulls the GPS info from the phone and public transit info from Google. I mean, someone has to do it, right?